It's time to break up with that toxic relative

All Woman

FAMILY conflicts are inescapable, and chances are that you've had your fair share of them. In many instances, though, these are minor squabbles that can be reconciled with internal family mediation. Some people are not so lucky though, as they often find themselves at the centre of toxic situations with family members who cause them so much pain and anxiety that it significantly affects their mental, financial and emotional health.

When this happens, even as it may be difficult to break ties with family, Family and Relationship Counsellor Wayne Powell says that if the relationship threatens your peace, happiness and immediate family, then the offences, like the below, might warrant writing them off.

They continuously violate boundaries

Your boundaries are in place for a reason. If your family member keeps going back on his/her word to continuously violate boundaries, then it is clear that he/she does not respect you and they have no intention of amending their ways.

It's a pain being around them

So the family member is manipulative, gaslighting, a gossipmonger and liar — all of which often cause internal or family conflict. If you notice that not just you, but everyone breathes a sigh of relief when they are not around, then they are someone worth cutting off.

They are abusive

If a family member is physically, emotionally or sexually abusive, it is time to sever ties. Your safety and well-being should always take priority. In fact, if you feel that you have been violated, for example, in the case of sexual abuse, then don't feel pressured to stay quiet — report the matter to the authorities.

The relationship is affecting your life

The stress of maintaining a relationship with some family members — especially when it spills over into important areas of your life like work, home, family — can be mind numbing. If you find that you have to seek therapy and/ or your mind is constantly chaotic because you keep trying to work through the things said or done to you, it is okay to move on.

The relationship is parasitic

An important part of the family dynamic is being able to support each other, especially in difficult times. Unfortunately, sometimes, family members will take advantage of your kindness and will go as far as to make you feel bad if you are unable to fulfil their needs occasionally. If it is clear that they have an expectation of you, believe that you are somehow obligated to them, or are entitled to your money and you are nothing more than a cash cow, drop them.

You are constantly asked to make sacrifices

This person acts as though the sun revolves around him/her. They make themselves a priority, you and other family members have to tiptoe around them, and so you find yourself doing and saying things for their approval. If they continuously as you to make sacrifices, move on!

They are negative

If they are always negative and passive-aggressive in their comments and interactions with you and your family, are always hypercritical of your parenting, your children, your career — and this is causing you so much pain that you lose sleep, then it might be time to choose your sanity over your relationship with this family member.

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